In September 2012, 22 year old Zach Washington-Young was in the Bestival […]
Zach Washington-Young speaks on the following topics:
In September 2012, 22 year old Zach Washington-Young was in the Bestival Coach Crash, which killed 3 people including close friend Michael Molloy. Zach was thrown out of the windscreen, he was not wearing a seatbelt, a decision that was proven in court to have actually saved his life. Zach had been sitting in an aisle seat on the front row, his friend Michael Molloy sat beside him. Michael was killed, along with the driver and another friend. His back was broken and shattered vertebrae in his spine caused bone fragments to slice through his spinal cord. He was instantly paralysed.
Following the accident Zach was repeatedly told by medical experts there was no chance of ever walking again. Eventually Zach’s head consultant vowed to him “If you walk again, I will eat my own tie”. 12 months later Zach and his family were advised to visit PrimePhysio in Cambridge. Both Zach and the NHS were adamant that this would be a waste of time. After a few weeks of intense rehabilitation, Zach made a life changing decision to relocate to Cambridge and train full time at PrimePhysio. He was put through his paces every day. Paralysed and severely overweight, his fitness, mental strength, and physical capabilities were pushed to their limit.
Step by step Zach’s paralysed muscles started to reactivate, and with relentless determination Zach began to re-establish more and more connections in his legs. He studied the science of neuroplasticity and was able to spark serious results.
Over the course of 6 years, Zach set his sights on making medical history, to become the first person in the world with a spinal cord injury to recover and walk all 26.2 miles of the worlds most iconic distance event, the London Marathon. He completed the challenge in 11 hours 45 minutes, in April 2018.
Zach has since continued to push the boundaries, making more medical history summiting Mt Snowden in 2020, and swimming from Ibiza to Es Vedra and back in 2021.
Zach regularly competes and trains around the world and had the honour of working alongside Ellie Simmonds during her Tokyo 2020 preparation, which inspired him to keep pushing for more.
He has continued to pursue this life project and now represents Great Britain as a Paralympic swimmer, he is currently working with Team GB to reach the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
As a result of this journey Zach has been endorsed by brands such as New Balance, Adidas, and Red Bull.
Zach is a proud Ambassador of the Rooprai Spinal Trust (RST)
(www.rstrust.com) and through his London Marathon campaign raised over £150,000 to support others in similar situations.
He went on to form the Tyred campaign (www.tyred.org.uk), and fought for a change in legislation on the age limit of tyres on public transport vehicles, to prevent similar tragedies happening again.
“Zach delivered a motivational assembly to year 11 students, he spoke exceptionally, in an age appropriate manner, and reacted to the needs of our students by relating his experiences to them. The professionalism he demonstrated in both his appearance and his delivery were exemplary. Zach followed the brief perfectly and worked with one of our teachers in preparation of his message. Whilst Zach's story is heart wrenching, it is just as inspiring. His determination shone through and this resonated with our students. We would highly recommend Zach working with any school or organisation to inspire a work ethic.” The Academy of St Nicholas
JOURNEY FROM PARALYSIS TO MARATHONER – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnsIiZjfYLw&=&t=5s
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